'I didn't intend to harm Tyler' - Murder accused
THE man accused of murdering five-year-old Tyler Whelan has described how he kicked the boy in anger after the youngster had hidden from him.
Elvis Lee gave evidence at his trial at Cambridge Crown Court yesterday, where he said how he had been “annoyed” with Tyler on the morning of his death on March 7, 2011.
In an emotional afternoon in the court, Lee described how he had bitten Tyler moments before kicking him – and said he had not admitted his part in Tyler’s death for more than a year because he was embarrassed by what had happened.
Lee (34), of Crabtree, Paston, admits the manslaughter of Tyler but has pleaded not guilty to his murder and two counts of cruelty to a child.
Tyler’s mother, Stephanie Whelan (27), who lived at Sheepwalk, Paston, at the time of the incident, denies causing or allowing the death of a child and two counts of cruelty to a child.
Lee, who is a father-of-three and originally from London, told the jury how he and Stephanie Whelan had been woken up much earlier than usual by sounds downstairs.
He said: “I was woken up on the morning of March 7 earlier than normal.
“I heard something from downstairs. I remember Steph saying someone was downstairs.
“At first I stayed in bed, but Steph started getting up. She said we should go downstairs and I followed her.
“We went into the kitchen and saw Tyler lying between two stools.”
Lee explained to the jury that Tyler had told the couple how he had fallen from the breakfast bar.
They decided he should not go to school that morning because Tyler’s nose was bleeding and he had been sick.
He said Whelan had gone to take Tyler’s sister to school later that morning, while he and Tyler had gone back to bed.
He said: “I then heard creaking on the stairs, which I thought was Tyler sneaking back down.
“I called for him but he did not respond. I got up and went to see if he was still in bed but he was not there.
“I called for him again but he did not answer.
“I went to look for him but I could not find him. I started to panic. I went upstairs to get my phone to text his mum.”
The court heard Lee say he had texted Whelan saying he was in “hysterics” trying to find Tyler and asked her to come home. But while Whelan was responding he had found Tyler.
He said: “I found him behind the armchair. I picked him up and put him on the chair.
“I was really annoyed. I was raising my voice to him, asking why he had hidden and why he had sneaked downstairs again. He just looked down.
“I was winding myself up. I kept asking and asking and he totally ignored me.
“I had been told the weekend before that he had bitten one of my children. I was asking him about it and he didn’t answer. I was using a raised voice. I was pretty angry.
“I asked him how he would like it if he was bitten? He didn’t say anything, so I bit his leg. He tried to pull away and slid off the chair and tried to get away from me.
“I tried to grab him but he wriggled free. He was on all fours and moving towards the doorway.
“I kicked him. I was angry. He hit the door or the door frame. I thought ‘what have I done?’ He was lying winded on the floor, making a gasping sound. I didn’t intend to kick him, let alone harm him.
“I was apologising, saying ‘ I’m sorry mate, I didn’t mean it’. He looked shocked but he asked me for his breakfast.”
Throughout the afternoon hearing, Whelan sobbed uncontrollably while there were also tears and shouts from people sitting in the public gallery.
Lee also stopped on a number of occasions to wipe tears from his eyes.
Along with telling the jury his version of what happened on March 7, 2011, Lee also told the court why he had not admitted to kicking Tyler until shortly before the trial.
He said: “I wasn’t sure that I was responsible for his death.
“I was embarrassed about kicking and biting him and I didn’t want my family finding out.
“I thought it would affect me seeing my children again.”
Lee also told the court he had been taking an Integrated Domestic Abuse Programme, to try and help him with anger management.
He described his relationship with Stephanie Whelan as “volatile” and said he had physically assaulted her in January 2011.
The trial continues.
trial: Elvis Lee described to the court how he bit and kicked Tyler Whelan in anger while his mother Stephanie Whelan was out of the house.